DADODIRTS Four Corners of Paradise

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by DADODIRT, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I think it's about time to start a thread with some of the day rides I am able to do in the Southwest Colorado area.
    I will add to this from time to time. New rides, and if I get the itch to add some old rides that didn't make it beyond smugmug, here is the place.:clap

    Sunday, April 21, 2013.
    Beautiful spring day in the southern rockies. I decided to connect some roads I hadn't been on yet.
    From Durango I headed west on Highway 160 to Mancos, then west on 184 to Dolores. 145 North leads into Dolores and in the middle of town is FS Road 526. I have been on this first leg numerous times. Once you are west of Dolores the beauty of remote Colorado is everywhere.
    FS Road 526 is paved for the first ten miles or so.
    This is one of my favorite stopping spots.

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    Deep canyon down to the Dolores River. You can see the snow capped Wilson range and Lone Cone of to the left.
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    A few miles after the pavement ends is the intersection with FS Road 532. At this same intersection you can head west and down accross the Dolores River to come out on Hwy 491 near Yellow Jacket, CO or head north towards Norwood or Disappointment Valley. I had been on all the other roads up till now. FS Road 532 heads east and descends to the West Dolores River.
    FS Road 535, aka the West Dolores River Road is immaculate pavement. Zero traffic.
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    Most rides I enjoy making a 'loop'. When I got to the end of the pavement I had considered following the road up through Dunton and back onto Hwy 145 north of Rico. I realized I would probably hit snow somewhere, so I opted to run the route in reverse on the way home.
    I had scoped out a nice spot to stop for a lunch break near the intersection of 532 and 535.

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    Self Portrait...
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    The ride home was quick, with only one stop for a picture along FS Road 526.

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    150 (s)miles and home by 1:30.
    #1
  2. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

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    :clap:clap:clap
    #2
  3. papa_j

    papa_j Long timer

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    :clap Yea buddy!!! bring it!
    #4
  5. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    No ride last weekend.
    Maybe just a few pics in tribute to the GS. Gone but not forgotten..


    Somewhere in southern NM.
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    Looking East towards the Sleeping Ute Range.

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    Somewhere in Colorado....
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    Thanks for looking.
    #5
  6. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I needed to get out for a ride Friday as the rest of the weekend was booked. Nothing too long. Just a jaunt around the neighborhood.
    Started out on CR 250, which runs parallel to Highway 550, but to the east of the Animas River.
    Took a little detour up Missionary Ridge Road. Here's a view looking north towards Silverton. Highway 550 is all the way on the left.
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    Same view, close up.....That's the south facing side of the hills.
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    Somewhere along CR 250....Love the river rocks on the fence posts.
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    Lots of the older homes and structures were built using the round river rocks...This is just an old structure that I have been meaning to get a picture of....
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    View of Animas River upstream from Baker's Bridge....
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    and downstream.....

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    I just like going through this tunnel. That's highway 550 up above.
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    The big katoom goes vroom.....Sounds cool under here.

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    Towards the north end of CR 250 you cross the railroad tracks.
    Looking north.....
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    and south.....
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    The first picture was taken from way over there......

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    Caught the tail end of the train down by Hermosa.
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    Happy Tracks!
    #6
  7. Gale B.T.

    Gale B.T. Long timer

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    Have not seen you since Dolores , you and your son out for that ride.

    Disappointment Valley is on our list to ride this summer, thanks for the reminder. Also thanks for some great pics.

    We are off to the Overland Expo on Thursday 16 should you be going also.

    Keep them RR /pics coming

    gale
    #7
  8. 3pin

    3pin Adventurer

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    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM/ Durango, Colorado
    Great pics of the north valley. I have always loved those river rock houses on CR250.

    I just got back on a bike after 30 years of not riding. I would love to come up and do some riding later this summer.

    Robb
    #8
  9. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I'm stoked for the passes to be open.
    Supposed to be warm this week. I might have to play hookey one day.:D
    Thanks for lookin'.
    #9
  10. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

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    Thanks, Dadodirt..your RR's are going to be valuable. For the last 8 years or so my cretin riding buddies and I take a once a rear trip to ride mostly around Ouray and Moab. All we have done in your area is the loop of Ouray, Durango, Mancos, Lizard Head, Ridgway, Ouray. I was hoping to find more places to ride down your way for this years trip.

    Looking forward to your write ups...tks.
    #10
  11. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    May 17, 2012

    JOHN BROWN CANYON LOOP

    Decided to take a day off from work and celebrate an anniversary, of sorts. Twenty years ago I graduated from college and hooked up with a job in Telluride. Left the east coast and never looked back.
    At that time I had been riding for a couple of years, but had to leave my '73 CL350 basket case up in NY.
    I bought a pos Suziki 250 to start exploring the high passes and the dirt road of the western slope.

    Long one today. I left Durango around 8:30 and headed west to Dolores.
    This is the Sleeping Ute Mountains. It looks like a person lying on their back looking up. The head is to the right with arms folded and toes to the left. This is the closest mountain range to the four corners and is, for the most part if not entirely, on Ute land. It is a great landmark and when travelling I look forward to seeing it in my sights and knowing I am getting closer to home.

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    Coming down into Dolores. The county road I am taking winds up the hill in the background.
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    Stopped in at the Grocery for lunch. Good grub.
    Talked with the Ural rider for a few minutes.
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    Then up onto the high mesa.
    It's about eleven miles of pavement from Dolores to the beginning of the dirt roads.
    That's Lone Cone and the Dolores ranges of the Southern San Juans.
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    Then its on to remote Western Colorado at its best...
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    I stopped for a break at Mirimonte Reservoir. Always windy up here.
    That's another view of Lone Cone.

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    It's fifty miles of easy dirt and then you are still in the middle of nowhere. Or Basin, Colorado. Onto Highway 141 and north for gas at Naturita.

    The fifty miles between Naturita and Gateway is pure motorcycle bliss.
    No traffic, big sweepers, red rocks, lush plant life along the river and awesome views from above.
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    I stopped for lunch at the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers.

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    At Gateway I ascended John Brown Canyon Road up to the top.

    Views back toward Colorado.....
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    And the north side of the La Salle Mountains (just east of Moab in Utah)...
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    By now I was at the far end of my day's route. It's about 2:00 and I still need to get down to Moab and home.
    John Brown Canyon Road is about 55 miles from Gateway to Moab. The first twenty miles from Gateway is a mix of steep, gravel switchbacks to freshly graded dirt, to rutted dirt. Don't go this way if it is(or has in the last few days) raining.

    View of the Utah side and Castle Valley.
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    Somewhere on the ascent I lost the rear brake. I stopped at a place in Moab and was back on the road in about 20 minutes.

    Sorry, no more pics. I was on the last leg of the ride and just plain motored. Home from Moab in a little over two hours.

    391 miles, ten hours.
    #11
  12. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

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    I had the pleasure of riding John Brown Canyon Road last September. Nice ride and just about perfect for the loaded-up KLR. Nice pics of your world and I'll keep watching this thread for more.

    John
    #12
  13. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Gotta stay off the roads this weekend. Bicycles on 550 between Durango and Silverton on Saturday. Rolling HD blockades on all the roads. Blah, blah, blah.

    Last fall I was able to get my younger son on some rides. We did an overnight trip to Hovenweep National Monument on the Colorado/Utah border. One of the best campgrounds around, IMHO.

    Lucked out and ran into some of Otto's classmates at the campground..
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    Here's the camp site......
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    The loop hike is great. I've been on it with both my boys when they were 7 or so.
    The structures are pretty amazing.

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    It's a bit off the beaten path, but that's what it's all about.

    Be safe out there.......
    #13
  14. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I

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    Cool stuff! :clap
    #14
  15. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Took a little ride with my co-pilot, Otto.
    We headed up above Mancos, Colorado to Echo Basin at the southwest corner of the La Plata's.
    Stopped for lunch up at the highpoint. Kinda chilly at over 10,000' -
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    After our lunch break we got stopped at the snow on the way down. A few jeeps were working there way through and assured us that this was the big snow pile. I was able to ride around it on the side. Good thing I had the camera man with me.....
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    The next one was smaller but we still needed to get some rocks out of the way.
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    Another view of the Sleeping Ute on our way down....
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    And the La Plata range....
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    We took a little side road out to the top of the cliffs....

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    And one last shot of the co-pilot....
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    Hopefully next week shows some pictures of Ophir Pass current conditions. Stay tuned.
    #15
  16. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Summer is great for an ealry start.
    Kickstand up at 6:30 and heading north.
    I stopped at Coalbank Pass and added a layer.
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    At this point I still wasn't sure what my plan was. I was riding on a beautiful morning and that was all that mattered.
    View of Highway 550 looking south accross the valley...
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    By the time I was passing by Silverton I knew it was time to get up Ophir Pass.
    I always like this view of Silverton.

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    Another shot with the mirror...
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    The east side of Ophir Pass is a well graded gravel road with a couple steep switchbacks at the top..
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    Still some snow at the top....

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    This is looking west from the top. Check out the ski turns in the dirty snow....
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    I took a little break down on the Ophir side around 8:30.
    You can see the road cutting accross the slope in the background...
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    and looking west.....
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    By this time my plan was to head north past Telluride.....
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    and up over Last Dollar Road which winds up the hills west of Telluride towards Ridgway.....

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    As I was getting to the bottom of Last Dollar Road I was trying to think of a view I hadn't taken a picture of before. I used to commute from Ridgway to Telluride and in the summer would take this route a few times a week.
    Well, up towards the top I saw a couple Mountain Sheep and was able to get the camera out in time....
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    I've seen them above Ouray and a few other steep places, but this was a first on Last Dollar.

    I picked one of my favorite views for a spot. Here you can see Highway 145 down near Sawpit (around 7500') up to Lone Cone in the distance at over 12,000 feet. Not many places you can see that much relief.
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    Last Dollar Road spits you out on CR 58P up on Hastings Mesa..
    This view looks like something from Switzerland.

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    and looking east at the mountains past Ridgway...
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    Saw a couple Elk up on the mesa...
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    I stopped for a few minutes in Ridgway and shed a layer or two.
    Then it was time to hightail it home.
    I stopped at Andrews Lake for a lunch break...
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    and was home by 1:00.

    208 miles.
    #16
  17. CPAT

    CPAT Adventurer

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    Nice report! Thanks for sharing. Doing the same thing over in Wolf Creek area.
    #17
  18. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    With my family in town we were able to unload the kids and get away for a night.
    I booked a room at the Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray.
    The missus doesn't ride too much, but she is a great passenger.:D
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    And photographer.......
    Got a few shots on the Ouray side of Red Mountain Pass.
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    Happy couple.....

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    The lodge has some natural springs with a series of small tubs up on the hill.
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    and a view with the mountains....
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    Not a long trip, just an overnighter.
    Back home the next day.
    #18
  19. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I got a call a few weeks ago from a good friend who lives in Maryland. One of the few high school alumni I keep in touch with, Pat has been out to visit a few times over the past 15 years. He got a few days leave and planned to be in Denver on the 9th and heading up towards the Collegiate range between Buena Vista and Leadville.
    Sounds like a good reason for a ride.
    I left Durango at around 6am Sunday. This is from Wolf Creek looking west.
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    My plan was to go north on 149 up to Slumgullion Pass, then on dirt over Los Pinos Pass as I haven't done that one yet.
    I got to South Fork and there were thick clouds to the north. Looking up towards Summitville and the mountains to the east I could see a dusting of white. Not needing to ride snow in August I continued east on 160 to Del Norte. North of Del Norte is the small town of La Garita and the southern end of Carnero Pass.

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    Carnero is a low pass, but beautiful remote Colorado. This comes out on Highway 114 south of Gunnison.
    I was on 114 for a few miles, then onto a side road that cuts north-east towards Highway 50 and Sargeants, CO.
    Stopped for lunch along this road.
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    Highway 50 over Monarch is a bit busy on Sunday, so I opt for Old Monarch Pass. This heads up from Sargeants on the north side of Hwy 50 and comes out up near Monarch Ski Area.
    More remote Colorado.
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    Heading down just as the clouds start to move in.
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    I got to Buena Vista a couple hours before Pat and Nate, so I rode around looking for camp spots.
    Found a nice one near the trailhead to Harvard and Columbia, which is the goal for the next day.
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    We got an early start on the trail....
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    Awesome up above treeline.
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    I made it up to above Bear Lake, but was hindering the expedition at my slow pace. Pat and Nate headed up Harvard while I started the descent.
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    All in all, we were hiking for over 9 hours.
    One more night at our camp spot.
    Tuesday morning had me heading back to Durango.
    Cottonwood Pass was a hoot on a Tuesday Morning.
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    Back home in the afternoon. 630 some miles and a good days hike.
    #19
  20. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS

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    Great Work Dadodirt!
    Just in my hotel room waiting for the sun to start going down a little. I can't wait to go out on some trail shortly. Earlier I did Onion Creek Trail.
    Simba
    #20